This was my second entry to the Writing Contest, which earned an honorable mention. I’m posting it because I haven’t posted in a long time!! =)

The Beauty Within

Some people say that mankind is like a meadow of flowers swaying together. The bluebell looks at the lily and wistfully wonders why it was not gifted with such beauty – while the lily gazes at the rose and covets its vibrant colors. Unable to look upon ourselves, it’s only when another holds up a mirror and we see our reflection that we realize the beauty within.
The name of my mirror-holder was René. He sought me out at a time when even my own mother kept me stirring soup in the kitchen, so as not to scare away the boarding house guests with my deformed face and figure. Whether I was dusting, or mopping, or peeling potatoes, he would always find me and sit for hours spinning tales of his past adventures, or playing melodies on his violin. His kindness and patience as he listened to my stuttering speech brought me to realize that here, in this unlikely, grey haired man, I had found my first friend.
And with this friend came the key to unlock my chains. Cursed for so long to look upon fair flowers in this world’s meadow, I had learned to live with my eyes closed, inside my mind. René released my inner world the day he laid his violin in my callused hands and offered to teach me. It turned out he was offering to teach a duck how to swim.
I invented entire tunes on the spot, playing them as they wound through my mind. Even in the beginning when the notes came out squeaky, guests paused in the kitchen door and listened with mouths agape.
“My music is magical,” I told René, my tongue stumbling over the words. “It blinds them to my ugliness.”
He only shook his head. “It awakens them to your beauty.”
On that day I didn’t believe what he said. But now I know he spoke the truth. When my mother listened to me fiddle Papa’s favorite song, she realized she had been blind to a daughter who loved her. When the guests heard my slow, sweet songs in the evening, they knew they had overlooked the scullery maid too quickly. And when Jacques Depaul, a great composer, watched me play one of his complex songs by ear, he saw greatness hidden within my soul.

Several years have passed since René first laid his worn violin in my hands.
I stand in the darkness of the stage wing, swathed in an ethereal white dress. I know I look like a mottled cake poorly covered with icing, but I straighten my shoulders and tuck my violin – my voice – beneath my chin.

They announce my name, Marjorie Chevalier, to the king of France, and lights illuminate the stage. I take a deep breath and step forward, into the light, the sound of my music filling the lofty hall until it makes the chandeliers tremble. This song is a thank you to my mirror-holder – to René.